Starting Lily’s Farm: It Takes A Village

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#tbt to when my #niece and nephew helped me catch a rogue #chicken : regram from @brandj6000 #ittakesavillage

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Spring is in the air these days, and it’s exciting, but also daunting. It’s hard not to feel hopeful when your hands are full of seed packets and your future field lies before you like a blank piece of paper. So many possibilities, so many babies yet to be born!

Starting a farm feels a lot like raising a child, and it definitely takes a village. When I started the farm up in New Paltz last year, I had the farm incubator team behind me, as well as the use of their truck, barns and tools. I also had the camaraderie of my fellow fledgling business owners, Four Legs Farm and the Community Compost Company. I struggled through building the chicken coop with the help of carpenter acquaintances, former coworkers, various family members and my boyfriend at the time.

I wanted to plant roots in the land that nurtured my agricultural dreams.

I decided to move back to Long Island for a lot of reasons, some more practical than others. First, for love: particularly for the love of one person and for the possibility of building a life here together. But also for the love of this place: I wanted to take midday breaks at the beach and wash the soil off in the sea. I wanted to trade my produce for oysters and wine and walk into restaurants and shops where I knew the owners by name. I wanted to plant roots in the land that nurtured my agricultural dreams. I was striving towards the vision I’d had working at Latham’s: to look out from a farm stand and see fields stretching to the water.

On the more practical side, I wanted to come back to serve and feed my community. I wanted to fill the need for pasture raised eggs and locally grown peanuts (maybe that’s not the most obvious market, but I think it exists!). I wanted to help retain the North Fork’s agricultural traditions and steward a landscape I cherish. I wanted to do my part to help sequester carbon in the soil and farm the land in a way that prevents nitrogen from ruining our waterways.

I know that all those things are a lot to expect from myself, and that I should know by now that nothing goes according to plan and that love rarely lasts.  But I wouldn’t be a farmer if I wasn’t an optimist.

Read all of Starting Lily’s Farm here.

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